Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Falling for Casely-Hayford's Paragon

Eyes still fixated on Casely-Hayford's AW10 collection, A Darker Shade of Black.

Every once in a while you encounter a collection that encapsulates your dream wardrobe. Casely-Hayford's A Darker Shade of Black left me contemplating a life of crime or black market organ dealing to enable it to hang in my flat. For AW10, the design duo reassessed ideas of masculinity, drawing influence from military uniforms and revisiting the darkened sensibility of their AFRO PUNK. The collection builds on their signature, sportswear and tailoring mix by adding military influences. The Afro Punk is now encased in armour. The father and son design duo have undoubtedly built on the successes demonstrated in their first three offerings with a saliva inducing fourth collection. Although unable to currently afford the collection I was able to call in a few pieces for a recent shoot with a Japanese magazine (more on this shortly) where I fell in love with the collection all over again. The 12 hole Paragon boots were the real focus of my affections then and now. It must be love.

Two looks featuring the Paragon boots.

The moment I slipped my feet inside of them I sensed something of a transformation. Having been seduced by the boots undeniable charms and given the giant menswear geek that I am, I needed to find out more about them.

A closer look at the focus of my affections. The 12 hole boot in all its glory.

'What did you find out?' I hear you cry. Well...these military inspired 12 hole boots are in fact a collaboration with the John Moore brand. For those of you who don't know, John Moore was one of the great originals of British design who sadly died prematurely in 1989. Although his influence is still felt today, I have to confess to knowing very little about the man so I think it best to allow Joe Casely-Hayford to elaborate on how the collaboration came to be...

"As well as working with Vivienne Westwood, under his own label Moore created some of the seminal shoe designs of the 80s. Over two decades before Dalston became the focal point for artists and designers that it is today, John Moore opened ‘The House of Beauty and Culture’ on Stamford Road in Dalston Junction. It quickly developed into one of those generation defining cult locations, attracting London's underground youth culture. The House of Beauty and Culture was built around the John Moore shoe collection, but became etched into fashion history because it brought together a group of the most exciting and inspiring creators under one roof - the legendary Judy Blame, knitwear designer Richard Torry, an unsung genius, hatter Fiona Bowen, and of course the great John Flett who before his untimely death was often compared to John Galliano. Flett lived in a flat on Kingsland Road opposite the shop, and was just beginning to make a name as a visionary cutter and designer.

The House of Beauty and Culture had a distinctive style, with a metal grille on its windows and a floor surface which was studded with coins from around the world. Moore’s shoes sat very comfortably in this setting; they could have a heavy serrated sole, squared off toes or ribbon laces, giving the feeling they belonged to a 20th Century Artful Dodger. This was a great time for shoe design. Lawler and Duffy had just left Cordwainers and after designing the footwear for the infamous John Galliano graduation collection they began to collaborate on Joe Casely-Hayford collections. The footwear Lawler Duffy and John Moore created had a very English look to it; made by Desborough with a hard industrial appearance."

A pair of John Moore toe strap boots seen at Vintage of Goodwood...alas they were two sizes too small.

Now, Moore first designed the ‘toe strap’ boot with the Desborough factory in 1986, before changing manufacturer in 1987. The original design was a seven eyelet boot, Goodyear welted and with a Northampton appearance. It fused elements of punk/seditionaries, Skinhead styling and traditional British work boots. The Toe strap became a cult boot and is today being produced for Casely-Hayford by the same maker, six years after Joe Casely-Hayford was originally approached by the company to update the boots for a new generation. Quite a tale and quite a boot.

Made as a limited run, the boots can be found exclusively at Dover Street Market and Hostem in London.


Cara said...

Gah, those boots (esp the first!) are too amazing <3<3

giancinephile said...

The boots are another wonderful manifestation of classic with a twist!

Nicely done! haha

miss b said...

I have a pair of John Moore's hog nose shoes. Very wonderful. I was lucky enough to find them shortly after John died. I always coveted the gold ones, but never found a pair.

Rollergirl said...

Ooh looky!

thanks for all that info. I know what to get D for xmas now...

Anonymous said...

i remember the dalston 'house of culture' very well, way before dalston became filled with the so called 'hipster' crowd. although i never did buy the boot, 2 of my mates did and were very fond of them. i actually bought a jacket which seperated into pieces. i myself was a shoe designer back in those days, and still traded on and off until 2004. i now work with my wife at her bespoke fashion company (lisa redman)

Keith Barker-Main, London said...

The fabulous John made me a pair of shaved leather boots. I still have them. Bless him!

Julian Moore said...

It's so nice to see that John's talent is still recognised today, some 23 years after he made some of the most amazing shoes. I see John Moore design clues in many of today's models, both mens and ladies. The family are very proud of his ahievements and always had admiration for his opinion, commitment and passion. Thank you for keeping his designs recognisd and desired even today. Julian Moore.

Miller said...

God knows how I found this thread. was a regular when a youth to the HOB&C. Still have pictures and postcards of the shop and John... Also a pair of ox blood handmade shoes by John himself boxed away... It's the only thing I kept of that era, even the Westwood/Yamamoto/Comme stuff got sold but never those 25 year old shoes... Paul Miller


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